Waymo will be operating in five states and is assembling a fleet consisting of thousands of driverless vehicles…

Waymo photo

Waymo driverless taxi/photo by Web Summit (CC)

(Digital Trends) Google’s autonomous driving company Waymo will soon make its official debut as a full-scale service on public streets.

Arizona gave Waymo transportation network company (TNC) status on January 24, following the company’s application on January 12, Quartz reported.

The application contained photos of the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans Waymo will be operating in five states. The company is assembling a fleet consisting of thousands of these vehicles.

Waymo has been testing in Arizona since April, where select Phoenix residents were given 24/7 access to the taxi service for free. The fleet is composed of Pacifica Hybrid models, which are actually plug-in hybrids that have an all-electric range of 33 miles.

At first there were engineers in the driver’s seats, but starting in November the hailed vehicles were driverless.

** MORE SELF DRIVING CAR COVERAGE at Liberty Headlines **

With its new TNC status, Waymo can start charging riders for its service, which will be accessed from a computer or an app. This could spell trouble for Uber, a company with serious self-driving aspirations of its own, and Lyft.

This came prominently to light when Waymo filed a massive lawsuit against its rival. It accused Uber of stealing intellectual property relating to self-driving technology.

The conflict lasted over a year, and ended with the order for Uber to give Waymo a 0.34-percent equity stake in the company. At an estimated $72 billion value, Waymo’s settlement is worth close to a quarter of a billion dollars. Learn everything there is to know about the Waymo vs. Uber trial in our roundup…

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